Kumar Sangakkara, the former Sri Lanka captain, has been announced as the first non-British President of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), and will take up his one-year post on October 1, 2019.
Sangakkara's nomination was announced by the current President, Anthony Wreford, at the MCC Annual General Meeting at Lord's on Wednesday.
"It is a huge honour to be named the next President of MCC and it is a role that I am thoroughly looking forward to," Sangakkara said. "For me, MCC is the greatest cricket club in the world, with its global reach and continued progress for cricket on and off the pitch. The year 2020 is going to be yet another significant one in cricket, especially at Lord's, and I am thrilled that I am going to be able to play a part in supporting its future as President of MCC."
Sangakkara is already heavily involved with the club, having delivered a powerful and memorable MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture in 2011, in which he touched on the power and importance of cricket in healing the wounds of civil war in his native Sri Lanka, and recounted his experience of the Lahore terror attack in 2009.
In 2012, he was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the club, and, in the same year, he joined MCC's World Cricket committee and remains an active member.
His connections with MCC go back a long way: he played against the Club in 2002, opening the batting for the touring Sri Lankans in a first-class match at Queen's Park, Chesterfield. He also played for MCC against an International XI at Lord's in the 2005 Tsunami Relief Match. Proceeds from that match were used by the Foundation of Goodness to set up the MCC Centre of Excellence at Seenigama in Sri Lanka.
Sangakkara appears twice on the Honours Boards at Lord's, having scored 147 in the drawn Test against England in 2014, and 112 in their ODI victory on the same tour, an achievement that earned him one of the inaugural placings on the new limited-overs boards that was unveiled earlier this year.
Sangakkara's year of office will begin on October 1, 2019 and will conclude on September 30, 2020. His tenure will encompass two England Tests against West Indies and Pakistan, and the launch of The Hundred competition.
Wreford said: "As MCC looks to broaden both our horizons and international reputation, I'm delighted that Kumar has accepted the invitation, which he did in January this year, to be the next President of MCC. He is an outstanding individual both on and off the field and will make a huge contribution to the Club. In a World Cup and Ashes year he will also have a significant role to play as President Designate."